Sometimes it’s the little things that can make a huge impact on patients during their stays at the Victoria Hospital.
Such is the creed of Gail’s Brigade — a group of volunteers who paint fingernails, massage feet or otherwise help patients on their road to recovery.
“Sometimes they’re just sitting and visiting with the patients,” director of volunteer services Sonya Jahn said.
“Some people may not feel comfortable to have a foot rub or somebody may not want their nails done, but they would value and appreciate the company of a volunteer.”
Gail’s Brigade was established in 2006, in memory of Gail Hall and Glen Kruger — the initial spark provided by Hall.
“Instead of having flowers given to her, she wanted to have donations made to the volunteer services department,” Jahn said. “We wanted to make sure we could leave a legacy in honour of Gail.”
Additional funds were donated in memory of Kruger, propping up Gail’s Brigade to begin business.
“It’s very, very special,” Jahn said.
“When you’re in the hospital you’re there for a reason, and if we as a volunteer team can make that patient feel better — having their hair done or having their nails done — that just makes you feel so much better.”
For long-time volunteer Lorrie Wasyliw, volunteering with Gail’s Brigade has resulted in some memorable friendships that she now treasures.
When you’re in the hospital you’re there for a reason, and if we as a volunteer team can make that patient feel better — having their hair done or having their nails done — that just makes you feel so much better. - Prince Albert Parkland Health Region director of volunteer services Sonya Jahn
This was certainly the case with one gentleman, who scolded her for not waking him up for a foot rub.
“It does mean a lot to a lot of them,” she said, a smile crossing her face.
“Lorrie has done a wonderful job to make that positive difference in the lives of patients, so she’s a wonderful role model to future volunteers, like Kelly,” Jahn said, motioning to rookie volunteer Kelly Engemoen.
The Gail’s Brigade is currently small in stature, “but they’re mighty,” Jahn said, adding that they’re currently seeking more volunteers to fill out their ranks.
Those interested in volunteering must go through a training process and be willing to volunteer a minimum of one hour per week over a six-month period.
More details on this volunteer opportunity can be gathered by calling Jahn at 765-6010 or by emailing her at email@example.com.
Prospective volunteers can also stop by the Victoria Hospital’s volunteer services office, located a few yards left of the building’s main entrance.